If you plan to practice takeoffs and landings at a Class D airport where the pattern altitude is 1,000 feet, for example, you would need a reported ceiling of at least 1,500 feet to stay 500 feet below, as is the minimum for that type of airspace. Staying 1,000 feet above the clouds is tricky, but imagine the height above ground in the pattern and try to stay at least that far away from the tops of the clouds. The 2,000-foot lateral distance can be estimated through landmarks on the ground. But again, the best thing is to stay well clear of the white puffy stuff. Wouldn’t you hate to have an airplane suddenly appear at 250 knots, giving you no time to divert?